“Mommy almost got a ticket!”
My daughter was just bursting with this exciting news. And of course the first person we saw walking through the school parking lot was… the principal of her school.
Luckily, I’d foreseen my daughter blurting out something like that. I had made sure she understood, and so she added, “…for an inspection sticker.” -- Who knows what the principal had been thinking.
My daughter was so taken with seeing a police officer up close that she even said something about it a week later – to my parents. So in both cases I had to explain…
One day I’d pulled into our driveway only to find a police car pulling up behind me. Uh-oh! I’d passed him about a half a mile back. I hoped he hadn’t flashed his blue lights at me. If he did, I hadn’t noticed. I couldn’t have missed that, could I?
The officer said something about my expired inspection sticker as I was getting out of the car. I walked around the front of the car and my mouth dropped when I saw the date on the sticker. Uh-oh!
“Eight months,” the officer said.
I mumbled, “I rely on my husband to take care of all that stuff.”
The policeman asked for my license and registration. I was so flustered; I only gave him the registration, muttering, “Oh great, this may not be the latest one either…” when I didn’t immediately see the expiration date on it. He said he could check that out when he called it in.
“This your car?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said.
He said my name. “That you?” he asked.
I nodded, yes.
At that point I noticed the neighbor’s landscaping company waiting to turn into our shared driveway. “I think they want to get in here,” I said nodding towards the large truck and trailer in the road.
“You going to pull up there?” asked the officer. I nodded yes and pulled over onto the grass on our side of the driveway. I figured, At least I’ve given the landscapers a good laugh. I hoped they’d seen me looking at the sticker on my car. I didn’t even know them, but I didn’t want them thinking I’d been caught doing who knows what…
While I waited for the officer to come back, I fetched our mail and newspaper from the mailbox. The officer drove up as I was walking back to my car. “This is where we live,” I explained. (As if he hadn’t already seen our address on the car’s registration.) He must’ve thought I was such a spaced-out mom.
“That’s a fifty dollar ticket,” he said kindly. “Get it fixed.”
“I will!” I said.
What a lucky break. I called my husband as soon as we got inside the house. At first he said there must’ve been some mistake. Surely it hadn’t been that long…
Later he said he did check the sticker. -- He just hadn’t noticed the year! He thought he still had a while to go on it.
And so after dropping off my daughter at school the next morning, I drove around looking for an inspection station. I’d planned to make my husband do it, but I didn’t remember the expired sticker till after I’d strapped the kids into their car seats to go to school -- and as usual we were running late.
The second gas station I tried told me they did inspections further up the road. And luckily, my car passed. For eight months we’d been driving around illegally, but not on purpose. It’s not the first time I’ve been clueless when I should’ve been more on top of things.
I really can be flakey. Some of us have to learn from experience. Unfortunately, I’m not too empathetic until I’ve known someone who’s experienced the same thing, be it death of a loved one, cancer, or depression. Then I read up on it and maybe experience just a bit of it through someone else's eyes. -- I usually have common sense, but I could really use some “God sense” when my emotional sense is eight months or more behind.
That police officer probably had some idea what just how frazzled I was. The principal had told my daughter it was good that the officer, “…wants to make sure you’re safe.” – And of course, Someone else is watching out for us, too -- and teaching us those lessons we need to learn.
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